Muskellunge and Northern Pike Ecology and Management: Important Issues and Research Needs

Muskellunge-June-2015-FisheriesDerek P. Crane, Loren M. Miller, James S. Diana, John M. Casselman, John M. Farrell, Kevin L. Kapuscinski, and Joe K. Nohner ABSTRACT: New research techniques and changing Muskellunge Esox masquinongy and Northern Pike E. lucius fisheries have contributed to paradigm shifts in the science and management of these species. A symposium on Muskellunge and Northern Pike biology, ecology, and management was held at the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, and a panel discussion following the symposium identified several research and management priorities, including spawning habitat identification, habitat and population restoration, genetics, and selective mortality and exploitation. Future Muskellunge and Northern Pike research should focus on quantifying egg and age-0 survival based on habitat characteristics, rigorously evaluating habitat restoration efforts using statistically sound study designs, describing range-wide genetic structure of populations, and developing a better understanding of how selective mortality and exploitation can alter population size structure, sex ratios, and life history characteristics. Information and outcomes from the proposed research and management priorities will be critical for conserving and restoring self-sustaining populations of Muskellunge and Northern Pike.

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